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Survivor: The Amazon - Why Daniel Lostby David Bloomberg -- 02/27/2003
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Under normal circumstances - where the men and women had been mixed - Daniel would likely have been around right around until the merge because of his strength, if nothing else. But this wasn't normal circumstances. So what happened? Why did Daniel lose? As always, we'll look back at What Amazonian Survivors Should Have Learned to see where Daniel succeeded and where he failed.
First and foremost: scheme and plot. Daniel did a bit of this, but from what we saw he was never particularly the leader in the scheming and plotting. Early on, when it became obvious that it was going to be the older guys vs. the younger (in general), Ryan took the lead - in part because he knew his neck was on the chopping block first. Daniel certainly went along, but we didn't see him actively trying to get people into his group. In the third episode, Daniel did talk to Matthew and Rob and Alex, but what we saw seemed to be more of him talking about how things were - for example, telling Alex that Rob would vote however he would - rather than a lot of active convincing. Certainly it's possible that we just didn't see it, but whatever happened, it obviously didn't work for one reason or another. It seemed that nobody wanted to take the risk that they would be on the losing side. Since they didn't really trust one another (helped, no doubt, by the fact that Rob jumped ship during the first vote), the only way they could make sure they wouldn't get stuck in that position was to all turn completely against Daniel. Could he have found a way to turn that around? Considering the group he was with, I honestly don't know.
Definitely, therefore, he didn't plot and scheme too much. His scheming wasn't exactly secret, but that really didn't have anything to do with the outcome. Everybody knew that he and Roger didn't like each other. Everybody knew that they were working against each other. Sure, it would have been nice to be able to secretly pull together a solid alliance, but it just didn't seem to be working out.
As far as being nice and keeping controversial beliefs to himself, Daniel appeared successful - certainly more so than Roger! Matthew noted in talking to Dave that if you want to vote based on personality, you need to get rid of Roger. But it appeared that Dave had it in for Daniel ever since Daniel's joke at the first immunity challenge about how they had caught so many fish. It's not clear if there were other reasons, but Dave never did appear to get over that.
Next up we have the rule about not letting emotions control you. Here Daniel could have done better, but I can't honestly blame him. He got sick of being ordered around by Roger. He didn't jump to attention and salute the jerk. But it's not like he lashed out at the guy - he just didn't immediately do whatever Roger told him. Could he have adopted Rob's "Yes, Roger" attitude? Sure. But sometimes personalities just clash. I suspect I would have done much the same thing he did in this case.
Finally we have the area where Roger, at least, would claim Daniel failed - don't be lazy. From the beginning, Roger was complaining about Ryan and Daniel not doing enough. In my interview with Ryan, I asked him why he and Daniel appeared not to be working - much to the annoyance of Roger. Ryan pointed out that we only see a few minutes edited down from days of footage and that everybody did different work and everybody took breaks. He added that Roger just wanted to paint a picture of them not working for strategic reasons. Frankly, I have my doubts, as Roger seems more interested in getting the junior members of the tribe to salute him than he does in sticking around, but for whatever reason, Roger started spreading that story. Considering the way he twisted the water story at Tribal Council, I rather doubt Roger's take on things. (Quick recap: Roger asked Daniel to get water. Daniel said okay. Roger asked if he could handle it by himself. Yes. Daniel didn't immediately run to get the water, and Roger was still standing there. So Daniel asked if Roger wanted to come with him. Roger got pissed and said he'd just do it himself. However, at Tribal Council, he claimed Daniel said he needed help to do it, and so he just did it himself. From what we saw, nothing of the sort happened.)
So, was the rest of the tribe correct in voting off Daniel? Hard to say. Certainly, he was not a challenge God in the ones we saw. So while in a mixed gender tribe he would have been good to keep around, in a group full of strapping men, his muscles weren't as necessary. His fight with Roger was causing a split in the tribe, but did getting rid of Daniel cure that ailment? I would say no. It was but one symptom - the cause is Roger himself. The others seem to know it, but they were just afraid to act on it, as I noted above. Rob, Alex, and Matthew should have joined with Daniel to get rid of the person who was causing the most problems in camp - Roger.
But that's obviously not what happened. Roger managed to portray Daniel as a slacker and at least convince Butch and Dave to side with him. The others went back and forth, but finally decided they couldn't trust one another and all ended up on Roger's side. Basically, Daniel was voted out because of fear. Rob, Matthew, and Alex all were afraid to end up on the wrong side of the Roger-led alliance, so they did the safe thing and voted against Daniel. That is why Daniel lost. And unless they get smart, and fast, that is why they will end up losing as well while Roger continues to advance.
David Bloomberg is the Editor of RealityNewsOnline and can be reached at email@example.com.
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